Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


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The Prayer of a Minor Prophet

 thThe Covenant and prayer of a preacher:

(From AW Tozer)

This is the prayer of a man called to be a witness to the nations. This is what he said to his Lord on the day of his ordination. After the elders and ministers had prayed and laid their hands on him he withdrew to meet his Savior in the secret place and in the silence, farther in than his well-meaning brethren could take him.

And he said: O Lord, I have heard Thy voice and was afraid. Thou has called me to an awesome task in a grave and perilous hour. Thou art about to shake all nations and the earth and also heaven, that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. O Lord, my Lord, Thou has stooped to honor me to be Thy servant. No man taketh this honor upon himself save he that is called of God as was Aaron. Thou has ordained me Thy messenger to them that are stubborn of heart and hard of hearing. They have rejected Thee, the Master, and it is not to be expected that they will receive me, the servant.

My God, I shall not waste time deploring my weakness nor my unfittedness for the work. The responsibility is not mine, but Thine. Thou has said, “I knew thee – I ordained thee – I sanctified thee,” and Thou hast also said, “Thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Who am I to argue with Thee or to call into question Thy sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Thine. So be it, Lord. Thy will, not mine, be done.

Well do I know, Thou God of the prophets and the apostles, that as long as I honor Thee Thou will honor me. Help me therefore to take this solemn vow to honor Thee in all my future life and labors, whether by gain or by loss, by life or by death, and then to keep that vow unbroken while I live.

It is time, O God, for Thee to work, for the enemy has entered into Thy pastures and the sheep are torn and scattered. And false shepherds abound who deny the danger and laugh at the perils which surround Thy flock. The sheep are deceived by these hirelings and follow them with touching loyalty while the wolf closes in to kill and destroy. I beseech Thee, give me sharp eyes to detect the presence of the enemy; give me understanding to see and courage to report what I see faithfully. Make my voice so like Thine own that even the sick sheep will recognize it and follow Thee.

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Lord Jesus, I come to Thee for spiritual preparation. Lay Thy hand upon me. Anoint me with the oil of the New Testament prophet. Forbid that I should be come a religious scribe and thus lose my prophetic calling. Save me from the curse that lies dark across the modern clergy, the curse of compromise, of imitation, of professionalism. Save me from the error of judging a church by its size, its popularity or the amount of its yearly offering. Help me to remember that I am a prophet – not a promoter, not a religious manager, but a prophet. Let me never become a slave to crowds. Heal my soul of carnal ambitions and deliver me from the itch for publicity. Save me from bondage to things. Let me not waste my days puttering around the house. Lay Thy terror upon me, O God, and drive me to the place of prayer where I may wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world. Deliver me from overeating and late sleeping. Teach me self-discipline that I may be a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

I accept hard work and small rewards in this life. I ask for no easy place. I shall try to be blind to the little ways that could make life easier. If others seek the smoother path I shall try to take the hard way without judging them too harshly. I shall expect opposition and try to take it quietly when it comes. Or if, as sometimes it falleth out to Thy servants, I should have grateful gifts pressed upon me by Thy kindly people, stand by me then and save me from the blight that often follows. Teach me to use whatever I receive in such manner that will not injure my soul nor diminish my spiritual power. And if in Thy permissive providence honor should come to me from Thy church, let me not forget in that hour that I am unworthy of the least of Thy mercies, and that if men knew me as intimately as I know myself they would withhold their honors or bestow them upon others more worthy to receive them.

And now, O Lord of heaven and earth, I consecrate my remaining days to Thee; let them be many or few, as Thou wilt. Let me stand before the great or minister to the poor and lowly; that choice is not mine, and I would not influence it if I could. I am Thy servant to do Thy will, and that will is sweeter to me than position or riches or fame and I choose it above all things on earth or in heaven.

Though I am chosen of Thee and honored by a high and holy calling, let me never forget that I am but a man of dust and ashes, a man with all the natural faults and passions that plague the race of men. I pray Thee, therefore, my Lord and Redeemer, save me from myself and from all the injuries I may do myself while trying to be a blessing to others. Fill me with Thy power by the Holy Spirit, and I will go in Thy strength and tell of Thy righteousness, even Thine only. I will spread abroad the message of redeeming love while my normal powers endure.

Then, dear Lord, when I am old and weary and too tired to go on, have a place ready for me above, and make me to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. Amen

 


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Jesus and the Feast of Tabernacles

IMG_2725On Saturday we went as a family to a local Messianic congregation to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).  It was such a joyous occasion.  Our daughter loves it when we visit this congregation as she loves the Messianic dancing and is always involved.

Messianic dancing

Messianic dancing

At the Feast of Tabernacles, on the Great Day of this 8-day Feast, was a spectacular water drawing ceremony.  Water from the pool of Siloam gushed out and was offered to God as a drink offering.

Jesus attended this Feast and on the Great Day, as the water was gushing He cried out in the Temple:

“If anyone thirsts, let Him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water!” (John 7:37-38)

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Can you imagine what the people must have thought?  Here was water gushing forth in a joyous celebration of this living-giving fluid.  In the Middle East in the first century water was not always easy to find and so it was symbolic of life and of God’s blessing.  There would have been a procession of people, singing and playing flutes.  And in the midst of this celebration here is Jesus standing in the Temple crying out for people to come to Him and drink.  He promised them mayim chayim – living water.

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So we see that the Feast of Tabernacles, as all of the Jewish Feasts, point to Christ.  In verse 39 John explains that :

“But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy  Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

Blessing the children

Blessing the children

We see that the water gushing forth is a picture of the Holy Spirit.  That the great truth played out by this Feast is that when we put our faith in Jesus and are baptized in His Holy Spirit, rivers of living water will flow from us.

May we all go to Jesus and drink of Him! And may rivers of living water flow from our hearts!

In the name of Yeshua, our Messiah, Amen

Shabbat meal

Shabbat meal


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Holy Fire vs Profane Fire

” A fire shall always be burning on the altar, it shall never go out.” Leviticus 6:13

This verse jumped out at me the other day as I was reading that most mis-understood of books, Leviticus. I’d like to share with you what God brought to my heart.

Leviticus 6:8-13 is the record of the law of the burnt offering. This is Old Covenant stuff yes, but the principle presented here is eternal, and is recorded for our benefit.

God is here setting forth His commands to the priest, Aaron and his sons. All believers are now priests unto God under the New Covenant, so there is something here for us.

“And the fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it, is shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order on it; and he shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings.” Leviticus 6:12

Two points here:
1. God requires that the fire on the altar never goes out
2. God requires that the priest shall keep the fire burning by bring wood every morning

Where does the fire come from? It is a divine fire, lit by God Himself.

“…Then the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people and fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. When all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.” Leviticus 9:23, 24

The fire must be lit by God to be holy. God will never accept our self-effort, it is a “profane fire” to Him. The fire must be initiated by Him and comes from Him alone. We see on the Day of Pentecost the fire of God settling upon each of those in the Upper Room (Acts 2:3). This was fire sent by God, as John the Baptist had prophesied “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance but He who is coming after me is mightier than I… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Matthew 3:11.

All of our fleshly works must be consumed. Look at what happened to Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu when they offered the “fire” of their own self-effort…

“Then Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it, put incense on it and offered profane fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them. So fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” Leviticus 10:1, 2

So we see that God will never accept fire, or works, initiated by man. However God does require man to play his part too.
Whilst the fire is initiated by God, God gives the responsibility to maintain the fire to man. God will never do for us what He expects us to do ourselves. So He commands the priests to keep the fire burning, to not let it die out.

How do we keep it burning continually? Well God even tells us how to do that…
“And the priest shall burn wood on it every morning…” Leviticus 6:13
Praying and spending time with the Lord, in His Word daily keeps the fire burning.

“…and lay the burnt offering in order on it…” Leviticus 6:14. How?
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice–the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” Romans 12:1

“You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire.
Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.” Leonard Ravenhill

Be blessed!


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Day-time Street Preaching

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Yesterday morning I went into the city to street preach with two other women.

Every kind of opposition was thrown against us beforehand to try to stop us from going, including the fact that my five year old son came down with a severe case of croup on Monday night and was still sick yesterday.  Praise God for mothers though, mine looked after Tom while I went into the city.  I was reminded of CT Studd’s words: ” ‘Preach the Word’ is the rod the Devil fears and hates”….

 

But we got there.  It was a completely different ballgame to open air preach during the daylight hours.  At night time there are a lot of homeless people, youth hanging out, as well as people going home from work and others out for the night.  During the day there were older people, there were high school students on excursions with their teachers, there were tourists and group outings.  I felt conspicuous setting up the PA on the little raised area at the front of the station.  During the day, there is nowhere to hide, no cover of darkness at all.  You are very much out there.

 

It was my friend W’s first time out on the streets.  She was a complete natural.  After the three of us prayed together she immediately started going over to the people sitting on the steps and handing out tracts.  I began to preach after a moment of panic wondering in my new PA was loud enough.  It was, as long as I held the mike pressed against my chin.

 

After a while I thought that it is easier preaching during the day because nobody screamed at me to “Shut up” or anything worse.  What a breeze. I saw people laughing and mocking of course but people were quite polite.  That is until I went over to a nicely dressed couple after I had preached, to talk to them and saw that the opposition was in fact there, bubbling away just as fierce, but hidden under a well-dressed facade.

 

“Your literalism is wrong,” he sneered at me, “everything you say is wrong.”

 

We talked for a little while.  it was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had.  I can honestly say I have rarely spoken to anyone who has been so bitter and angry.  And he used to be a pastor for 20 years.  Scary. As we parted, he still spitting venom at me, Holy Spirit gave me the words to say to him: “And yet, Jesus, knowing that you were going to reject Him, still died for you…”  He shook his head and walked away.

 

That was just one experience though.  We had a good time. The Word went out and seeds were sown through the preaching, conversations and hundreds of tracts that were handed out.  At one point as I was preaching, some high school students out on an excursion, gathered in front of me and listened, much to their teacher’s consternation.

 

I’d like to thank those who were praying for us.  I thank God for the Body of Christ.

 

As we left the city and were driving home, W said to me, “I feel my whole life was building up to this point.  I am a different person.”

 

The preaching of the Word not only changes others, it changes us.

Hallelujah.

 

 

 

 

 


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How far are you willing to go?

The Holy Spirit showed me this one night in prayer and then I put it in a poem as best I could:

 

He waits for me

So joyful that I will follow

Follow the path of death

That leads to light

I need that light

To be full of that light

For then He says:

“These nail-pierced hands and feet

Are going into the darkness

I want you with Me

Will you come?”

Oh Lord, I just want to be with You

Where You are.

He says “There is much work to be done,

Come.”

We must redeem the time

For there’s not much left

 

We walk slowly

He could go ahead

But He waits for me

He steadies me when I stumble

He talks to me while we walk

I see that He really wants me there

With Him

Where He is

He says “The deeper we go into the darkness

The brighter your light will shine,

How far are you willing to go?”

(They plucked the beard

From His face)

How far are you willing to go?


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Tonight’s Street Preaching

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So tonight the anointing came down.

Most of the time when I preach with the microphone people have one of four reactions as they walk past:
1. they laugh
2. they roll their eyes
3. they scream out blasphemy or
3. they yell at me to shut the f*#k up

Ha, good times.

(Actually to add another element to the mix is the Black Magician that seemingly only comes out when I am there. In his black clothes, make up and top hat he stands across from where we preach and moves his hands and legs around constantly in snake-like movements, as if he is casting spells on us. If you go close to him you realize that he is mocking us and repeats everything we say. He does that for hours – he doesn’t stop).

So anyway tonight the second time I preached the anointing came down. When the anointing of the Spirit falls everything changes. My preaching changes, it becomes powerful and the words flow easily. Under the anointing I could preach for hours, I don’t want to stop. I feel Jesus there with me SO real. I feel He is pleased with me.

But the BIG difference is that the people’s reactions change. Instead of walking past ridiculing and mocking, they stop walking. I mean they literally stop dead. One man stopped tonight in the middle of climbing the steps up to the station. The police officers stopped dead as they were questioning a drunk and listened. Crowds of people just stop and stare and listen. It’s like they are rooted to the spot.

So I kept on preaching as long as I could. Then when I finished the Holy Spirit told me to go straight to that man who was still stopped mid-way on the steps.

So I did. He saw me coming over to him, but he still couldn’t move. We started talking and he said :
“I was walking past but I had to stop. You captured me.”
That’s the Holy Spirit – hallelujah to the Lamb!

He was under conviction for his sin but as he spoke it was obvious that he was utterly amazed at what was happening.
“I’ve never done this before,” he said his eyes wide in surprise at himself. God bless him.

Anyway I just wanted to share 3 points with you
1. that under the anointing ANYTHING is possible.
2. that God will always honour the preaching of His Word and
3. that if you are seeking God’s presence in greater measure – look no further than the streets of your nearest city.

“For since in the wisdom of God the world by its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching.” 1 Corinthians 1:21


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The Call

“And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes I said to you in your blood ‘Live!’” Ezekiel 16:6

At my pondering this verse a few years ago, I had something of a vision. Whether it was a vision in the true sense of the word I do not know, but it was very real. Clearly I saw a long, dusty road that stretched out as far as I could see. All along the road there were bodies strewn. They looked barely alive and were half-formed, almost foetus-like. Each form was covered in blood and dirty with dust and grime. If any had clothes, they were torn rags. Along the road Jesus walked. He came and picked me up, for I found that I myself was one of those bloodied and misshapen forms. He took me to His Father’s house where it was light and colourful. There He washed me, dressed my wounds, gave me new clothes to wear and fed me milk. I grew and He held my hands as I learned to walk. Then when I was grown, when I was strong and able to stand, I saw Him standing at the open door of the Father’s house. He looked back at me and said “Come. It is time. Go back to the road. I will lead you there. There are many others who are abandoned and fatherless. They are bleeding and hurt and helpless. Bring them to my Father’s house. As I have loved you, so love them.”

And oh how He loves us. “This is how God demonstrates His love to us: while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) So much so that He left the presence of His Father to come to a world all dusty and darkened by sin. He laid down His own life to seek us out in our helplessness. He picked us up from the dusty road of life, up out of the harsh exposure to the elements and adopted us into the family of God. “To all who believed in his name He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12) His nail-pierced hands gently ministered to our needs; they cleansed us from the dirt and dust which we had accumulated along the road; they poured oil and wine into the wounds which had been inflicted on us and they clothed us in new garments – a robe of righteousness in place of the filthy rags of our own. He nurtured and fed us with the pure milk of the Word to bring us to maturity.

With that vision God had put a call on my life and a fire in my heart. I saw that the story of the Good Samaritan is actually the story of Jesus. While others may pass us by in our need, He never will. While others may find stopping for us too difficult, too inconvenient or too much effort, He stops at nothing to save us, even to the shedding of His own blood. And I saw that He calls us to join Him in this mission. He calls us to do to others as we would have them do for us. The religious leaders who tentatively passed by the robbed and wounded man left on the road could easily be us. For once He has brought us back to the Fathers house, it’s possible to remain there cosy and comfortable forever. We could keep enjoying our salvation and feasting at the banqueting table, becoming fuller and fuller. But for what purpose? I saw that if I allowed myself to remain feasting and comfortable rather than following Him back to the road, eventually I would grow sluggish and fall asleep. I saw that Jesus’ purpose for cleansing me, healing me and clothing me was not merely for my own benefit, but so that ultimately I could join Him in His work.

I believe this is the same call He puts on all of His children’s lives and the same flame that He wants to ignite in all of us.

There is a season in our spiritual infancy when we are tenderly nurtured, fed and protected. Just as at Shabbat, when the father of the house pours wine into the chalice, our Father pours the life of the Son into us, the newly cleansed vessel. The more we allow this vessel to be emptied of the self-life, the more He is able to fill us with Himself. God’s desire is that we should not remain perpetual babes but, like any healthy infant, grow and mature over time. And so the Father, eternally giving, keeps pouring into us. The Shabbat chalice is a picture of what He would do for us if we would let Him. On Shabbat the father of the house does not stop when the chalice is full of wine, he deliberately keeps pouring until the cup overflows. The liquid flows out from the vessel, for in fact, it was never intended to be contained and kept by this vessel – it was always meant to flow out, like rivers of living water. God patiently ministers to us until the time we reach maturity, and then He calls us into His mission of mercy.

And so Jesus bids us “come”, to join Him in His relentless pursuit of the lost. But the Good Shepherd will never force us. He will never cross over into our freewill. He says “If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matt 16:24). He simply calls to us and waits for us to weigh up the cost.

Undoubtedly taking up our cross and following Jesus back to the road, is not the easy option. It means the denying of ourselves, the leaving behind of some comfort and convenience. It means going out into the elements again – being burned by harsh heat, soaked in heavy rains or battered in driving wind. It means being confronted with the reality of human existence – the hurt and pain, the blood and dirt. It means getting our hands dirty and our feet calloused. It may mean that we are abused and rejected or even that the chalice of our lives is poured out on that dusty road. There is a real cost and it is worth our prayerful consideration. Yet Jesus, knowing the individual cost to each of us, still beckons us to “Come.”

Anything that is precious is costly, though, and along with this high cost comes an abundant joy when we are one with Him in His work. When the life of the Holy Spirit can truly flow from the Head into the Body, united as they are in will and in purpose, then the result is the absolute reality of His abiding presence with us. Jesus said:
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

You may still be on the road, wounded and abandoned. If that is the case, you can rest assured that there is a Saviour who knows and who is seeking you. Even at this moment He is reaching out His hand to pick you up, if you will let Him.

You may yet be an infant in Christ, newly adopted into His family. If so, I encourage you to keep feeding on the pure milk of the Word and to be continuously filled with His life, through the Holy Spirit, until you reach the measure of the full stature of Christ.

Or you may be already in the Father’s “house”, having been picked up by those nail-pierced hands from the road. If you’ve found the comfort, love and security in becoming a child of God, will you now go on to share this love and comfort with others? Will you heed His call?

May God bless you mightily on this Resurrection Sunday.